Thursday, 24 February 2011

The BBC guilty of not fact checking a story?

The Guardian reports a case of the BBC falling for a story without checking it.
'BBC Radio 5 Live featured a fictitious story about Downing Street's new cat after being duped by independent film-maker Chris Atkins to coincide with the launch of website'
The Guardian  have the audio. One has to wonder how the BBC justify their claims to be a premier news gathering and reporting organisation when they fall for this sort of story. Maybe the chance to have a few digs at Tory cuts and lack of planning was just too tempting for the Labour loving BBC.


Craig said...

Ah yes, those seven weeks exactly a year ago when...

(a) 'Newsnight' reviewed the 'Guardian's front pages on every edition of the programme - a favour not granted to any other paper

(b) 'Newsnight's paper review mentioned the 'Guardian' significantly more often than any other paper. It's nearest rivals (behind by some seven mentions) were the much higher circulation 'Telegraph' and the even lower circulation 'Independent'!

(c) the 'Newsnight's paper review started with the 'Guardian' more than twice as often as any other newspaper.

As you called it at the time, "the BBC's house mag".

Craig said...

Not a Sheep, I did also try to study the 'Today' programme's paper reviews, but it was very time-consuming (3 reviews per programme). I did it for about 3 weeks, but the metric I was using (counting first mentions, counting all mentions, then deducting points for quoting newspapers from frivolous items) was far too complicated!!

The results, which could still be salvaged (as I have all my notes), didn't show any obvious patterns &, matching presenters to papers mentioned (given that they help choose the stories for their reviews), didn't show anything obvious on the part of four out of five presenters.

The exception - and he stood out like a sore thumb even from the semi-skimmed data and from just listening to the programme each day! - was James Naughtie, whose mentions (and first mentions) of the 'Guardian' and the 'Independent' far outstripped anyone elses. He led with the 'Guardian' more than any other paper & the 'Independent' came second!!

That's hardly surprising. He's always been the worst of the 'Today' presenters for bias.

I will have to try it again, maybe sampling one week (the first full week say) of each month for the next three months, & see what happens!

Not a sheep said...

Craig, if you can salvage your notes I would be most interested... Likewise if you can bear to some more analysys.